When Anger Comes Out Sideways

Last week, I had a major case of anger coming out sideways. This is the phenomenon when you don’t know you’re angry, won’t admit you’re angry, or – worse- won’t allow yourself to be angry. THEN, your anger finds another way to show up. It is one of my wise friend Laurie’s favorite sayings.

My issue was a little bit of “don’t know” and a lot of “won’t allow”.

No, I didn’t have a full-on temper tantrum, but I was very cranky and had a huge desire to drink wine and eat junk food. Fortunately, my husband was away, so no one was subjected to this bout of surliness but myself.

It took me a couple of days and a conversation with Reed before I figured out what was going on.

I was angry about my friend Lin moving away. Lin lives two miles from me and has been a close friend, confidante, and playmate for the last 20 years.

What? I should be happy for her, celebrating with her, right? I certainly shouldn’t be angry.

I have no right to be angry.

And therein lies the problem, my friend. I felt I didn’t have a right to my anger. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel or express it. How often does that happen, especially to women? We deny and suppress our anger because we feel like we don’t have a right to it.

Despite popular opinion, anger is a healthy and information emotion. It tells us when we are grieving, when our boundaries have been crossed, and when our deepest needs aren’t being met.

I was already grieving the loss of my parents AND another friend who moved away last year. I had every right to be angry.

What I didn’t have was the right to abuse myself (or other people) because I was angry.

When I finally realized that I was angry. I could acknowledge it and express it. Say it out loud. My husband just looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’ve been waiting for this conversation.” He knew.

But telling him (and then telling Lin) about my anger shifted it. I expressed the anger directly, and it dissipated. It no longer needed to come out sideways. It was not only out there for me to deal with, but it was also out there for other people to help and support me with it. That made a huge difference.

Our Higher Selves often use our emotions and our bodies to give us signals when we are on the wrong path or when there are issues that need to be addressed. It behooves us to listen.

Anger is either expressed, or it comes out sideways. But it always shows up.

I’m relieved that I figured out that I was angry and what I was angry about before I engaged in more self-destructive behavior. I’m grateful that I had the sympathy and support of Reed and Lin, and now I can also be more patient and understanding with myself.

What are you angry about that you aren’t acknowledging? It’s okay, my friend. Let it flow.

With light and love,

P.S. – And I am very happy for Lin and wish her and her husband all the best with their move. 😊

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